Differentiation of embryonic stem (ES) cells generally occurs after formation of three-dimensional cell aggregates, known as embryoid bodies (EBs). We have previously reported that hydrogels provide EBs a supportive environment for in vitro chondrogenic differentiation and three dimensional tissue formation [Hwang NS, et al. The Effects of three dimensional culture and growth factors on the chondrogenic differentiation of murine ES cells. Stem Cells 2006;24:284-91]. In this study, we report chondrogenic differentiation of murine ES cells encapsulated in photopolymerizing poly(ethylene-glycol)-based (PEG) hydrogels in the presence of glucosamine (GlcN), an amino monosaccharide found in chitin, glycoproteins and glycosaminoglycans such as hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate and heparin sulfate. We examined the growth and differentiation of encapsulated EBs in standard chondrogenic differentiation medium containing 0-, 2-, and 10-mm GlcN. Morphometric analysis and examination of gene and protein expression indicated that treatment of hydrogel cultures with 2-mm GlcN for 21 days significantly increased EB size, levels of aggrecan mRNA, and tissue-specific extracellular matrix accumulation. GlcN can induce multiple aspects of cell behavior and optimal GlcN concentrations can be beneficial for directing the differentiation and tissue formation of ES cells.